WWE SmackDown: 3 things that went wrong on the Sept. 17 episode

WWE, Carmella (Photo by Brent N. Clarke/Getty Images)
WWE, Carmella (Photo by Brent N. Clarke/Getty Images) /

Lost in the excitement of seeing the new WWE Champion, Big E, appear on SmackDown was how mediocre the rest of the show was.

It was the sort of mediocre that’s difficult to talk about on a somewhat weekly basis given that many of this episode’s shortcomings are the same things that most fans have criticized WWE about for years. And yet, through a combination of hubris and laziness, the company continues to employ these frustrating tropes. It’s a tortured carousel of disappointment.

So, where did this show go wrong? Well, that’s what we’re here to talk about.

These are three of the things that went wrong on the Sept. 17 episode of SmackDown.

WWE finally books a women’s match for SmackDown…and it ends with a countout

After excluding the women from the in-ring activities for the last two weeks, WWE got around to booking the ladies for this week’s SmackDown, as Liv Morgan teamed with Toni Storm to face Zelina Vega and Carmella (a match originally scheduled for the Sept. 10 episode, but was cut due to time constraints).

The match lasted slightly longer than two minutes and ended with Morgan and Storm winning by countout after Carmella, the self-proclaimed “Most Beautiful Woman in all of WWE”, rolled out of the ring and broke out into hysterics over a potentially broken nose (of course, WWE revealed that she was fine shortly after). Awful stuff.

This felt like one of those instances where WWE books something out of spite as a response to justified criticisms from the fanbase (though the fact that WWE books crap like this all the time gives them some plausible deniability).

Sure, you could argue that it set up Morgan vs. Carmella for Extreme Rules, but they could’ve done that AND given the women time to have a real match with a real finish.

The Usos losing a non-title match to Big E and Finn Balor

Following the seemingly obligatory Roman Reigns talking segment, SmackDown kicked off its in-ring action with WWE Champion Big E teaming with Finn Balor to take on SmackDown Tag Team Champions The Usos.

The match was a lot of fun, as most matches featuring Balor, Big E, and The Usos tent to me. What wasn’t fun, though, was seeing Jimmy and Jey Uso lose another non-title match.

Yes, WWE was in a tough spot considering they couldn’t have the new WWE Champ nor the number one contender to the Universal Title take a loss, but given that WWE is the ones who write the show, they could’ve just booked something else.

In wrestling, perception is reality, and The Usos losing matches like this — especially to two singles wrestlers who don’t team together regularly — gives off the perception that they aren’t that good despite being the champions, which tarnishes the championships and makes the inevitable title change feel less momentous.

Becky Lynch gets the upper hand over Bianca Belair during Belair’s homecoming

It was nice to see WWE treat Bianca Belair’s return to her hometown like the big deal that it was (it would’ve been a bigger deal had she returned as SmackDown Women’s Champion, but that’s another story). Unfortunately, it was too good to be true.

To be fair, WWE got most of the homecoming right, which included Libertarian Kane presenting Belair with the key to the city and pretending that he would actually spend government funds on throwing her a celebration once she won the title back.

All WWE needed to do to cap this off was to have Belair hit Becky Lynch with the KOD, but this company just couldn’t help themselves. Instead, because WWE loves to make babyfaces look bad in their hometown, they had Lynch slip out of Belair’s finisher and deliver the Manhandle Slam to “The EST”.

Next. WWE SmackDown: 2 things that went right on the Sept 17 episode. dark

The idea of establishing Lynch’s finisher as Belair’s kryptonite is a sound one, but they should’ve held off on that for a week and let Belair shine in Knoxville instead of going for HEAT.